For today's Gamasutra feature we are pleased to present a review by former Gamasutra editor Brad Kane of industry veteran and Savannah College of Art & Design professor Brenda Brathwaite's new book Sex In Video Games, published by Charles River Media.
Following the book review is the first chapter of Brathwaite's book, "Defining Sex," in which she introduces the topic of sex in video games, and categorizes it by its usage, its range and its purpose. Brathwaite also looks at sex in the industry outside of games themselves, including a history of E3's infamous "booth babes," sex as used in game advertising, and unintended sex in games, be it emergent, modded, or hacked.
4 out of 5 stars
One of the most notable chapters in the history of sex-in-games is last year’s now-infamous “Hot Coffee” scandal, in which a modification to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas allowed players to play a XXX mini-game, which involved intercourse with a female NPC. Anyone with an eye on the industry will remember the spectacular fallout of that scandal, involving Hillary Clinton and ultimately leading to an industry-wide investigation by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). Brathwaite brings the entire incident into new focus in this book, delivering a play-by-play account of the scandals’ key events, and placing the episode within its proper social and historical context.
The Hot Coffee incident is certainly memorable, but it’s the ramifications of such episodes that ultimately leave their mark on the industry. And so “Sex in Videogames” – an IGDA-approved textbook by expert Brenda Brathwaite – comes at just the right time. This academic exploration of the role of sex in interactive entertainment is based on extensive historical and social research, and provides the first thoroughly objective published perspective on this highly controversial topic.
Much of the book is dedicated to exploring the social, legal, and moral issues raised by sex in games, and examining the various perspectives – both liberal and conservative – that contribute to the growing debate on the role of sexuality in interactive entertainment. Yet even this academic work gets steamy at times, for Brathwaite leaves no corner of her topic untouched. So hold onto your hard drives as we explore the sometimes exciting, sometimes offensive, but always controversial world of Sex in Videogames.
Leisure Suit Larry. Virtual Valerie. Lara Croft. Jenna Jameson. Even the booth babes. Sex and gaming share a long and sordid history together.
The book begins by with an examination of the history of sex in games – a history which dates back to the earliest text-based adventure games and runs parallel with the technological growth of the industry. Beginning with pioneering titles on the early Atari and Apple machines, and carrying the exploration along the changing landscape of Full Motion Video, networked gaming, and the modern console, Brathwaite thoroughly and faithfully traces the evolution of gaming as medium for risqué content. She also examines current trends in the industry – such as the current trend toward sexy characters in non-sexual games (e.g. the girls of Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball), and the continuing evolution of more directly sexual (e.g. Playboy the Mansion) or outright pornographic games.
She also explores another aspect of the history of sex in gaming – “emergent sex,” or unintended sexual content emerging from player behavior. This comes in many forms, be it in MMORPGs like the Sims Online, in online worlds such as Second Life (in which an entire prostitution district has sprung up, along with associated economy), or in more unexpected forms – such as in the case of Rez, Sega’s musical shooter, which in Japan shipped with a force feedback controller that many users took for a vibrator.
So what are the implications of all this interactively erotic entertainment? There is no single answer, but it’s clear that sexual game content has ramifications in the legal, political, financial, and moral sectors.
On the legal side of thing, Brathwaite explores some of the legislation that has attempted (and in some cases succeeded) to restrict or censor the content of video games. These measures have varied from the innocuous -- such as requiring game ratings to be posted on all game packages -- to the extreme, such as banning games with AO ratings, declaring video games a “harmful substance,” or even banning games altogether – which has happened in two countries.
This leads directly into questions regarding free speech and the First Amendment, which are ultimately at the heart of the sex-in-games debate. Is sexual content allowable under the guise of freedom of speech? Does “interactivity” justify increased regulation for video games? Should sexual content receive less constitutional protection than violent content? Where is the line between an individual’s right to privacy versus the state’s right to regulate obscenity? These are the questions that Brathwaite poses and explores, in each case presenting all sides of the various debates, and examining the current state of affairs on each issue.
There are financial considerations at work here too. Simply choosing to develop an adult title can lead a company into some thorny business issues, such as the specific concerns of managing employees working on adult titles, the high potential for sexual harassment lawsuits, and the challenges of developing a feasible sales model. Once an adult title has been finished, the battle has only just begun – for if a game receives the wrong rating and gets turned down by retail giants such as Wal-Mart and Target, publishers must choose between modifying their game, resorting to alternate sales models (e.g. internet-based sales), or facing economic ruin.
So how can all of these conflicting perspectives be reconciled such that the marketplace for adult games maintains a healthy balance between free expression and the responsible content management? According to Brathwaite, the onus of responsibility lies with everyone involved: parents, retailers, politicians, and perhaps most of all, developers and publishers. This is in fact why the ESRB was created – as a mechanism for formalized self-regulation within the industry – and so the author covers this topic in some depth, examining early attempts to rate the content of games, and breaking down each level of the current ESRB ratings system. There’s also some discussion of what types of material should be appropriate at each ratings level, as well as proposals for how the various social and political groups involved in the ratings debate could work together so as to protect both the right to produce sexual content, and the right not to be exposed to it.
The book also examines international components of the sex-in-games debate, particularly in terms of contrasting sexual mores from around the world and their impact on cultural responses to sex within games. Nowhere is the cultural contrast more defined than in Japan, which publishes an order of magnitude more sexual games than any of the western markets, and where the tolerance for Western sexual taboos such as incest, rape, and sex with minors is seemingly through the roof.
As the first book to thoroughly explore the important topic of sex in games, “Sex in Videogames” is a welcome addition to the marketplace of ideas. Brathwaite’s objective, academic perspective allows her to explore these difficult and controversial issues with clarity and authority, and her meticulous references to other articles and publications lends critical authenticity to a topic that would otherwise be subject to more intense scrutiny.
This book comes at a time when guidance in this area is needed, and will almost certainly give readers from any social group an increased understanding of the issues surrounding sex in games. However the current debates play out, sex and games are bound to be together for many years to come, and whether you’re a parent, a politician, an educator, a developer, or simply an interested observer, you’ll find it useful and informative to read up on this intriguing and controversial aspect of the interactive medium.
The following is the first chapter, entitled "Defining Sex," of Brenda Brathwaite's book Sex In Video Games, excerpted in full.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sex as “1 : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male, 2 : the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics of living things that are involved in reproduction by two interacting parents and that distinguish males and females, 3 a : sexually motivated phenomena or behavior, b : sexual intercourse and 4 : genitalia. [Webster01].”
Not exactly a definition for sex in games.
It should be an easy question to answer. Yet listening to participants at the “Sexuality in Games: What’s Appropriate?” roundtable at the 2005 Game Developers Sex in Video Games Conference, it’s clear that “sex in games” means a great many things to a great many people.
“Can you show masturbation in a game?” asked one.
“Is kissing all right in an E-rated game?”
“How does one handle reproduction in a game like Zoo Tycoon®?”
“I’d like to talk about the portrayal of female characters in games.”
“What about the booth babes?”
In its first session—roundtables run once a day for three days—the roundtable raised more questions than it answered. It also expanded the definition of “sex in games” to include more than just physical intimacy.
Sex in games includes everything from flirting to hard-core sexual simulators. It occurs when characters kiss or people “hook up” in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs). Models that parade the show floor at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3)—particularly those who appeared prior to E3’s 2006 enforcement of its attire restrictions—are as much a part of sex in games as the avatars that walk through game worlds. The sexual content found in video game advertising has as strong a place in the discussions as the sexual content that happens quite by accident.
So what is sex in games?
Sexual content in video games ranges from the completely abstracted to the explicit. With such an array of material, how does one categorize sexual content in video games? There are several ways to look at it: by use, by range, and by purpose.
When sexual content appears in a game, it’s there for a reason, whether to carry out a specific gameplay mechanic or to convey an aesthetic, a particular feeling, to the player. In general, there are three specific uses for sexual content in games.
How is sex used in games?
Sex as Mechanic
A gameplay mechanic is a rule of a game. A barrel that blows up when it is hit is a mechanic, as is a floor pressure plate that causes a secret door to open. Throwing a die, taking a card on your turn, or advancing three spaces on a board are all mechanics of board games. For some video games, particularly those in the hard-core market, sex is a mechanic. In the online game VirtuallyJenna, for instance, players use a variety of tools to bring a virtual version of porn star Jenna Jameson to climax. In Playboy™: The Mansion™, characters who develop a sufficiently high relationship with each other might also “get it on” in the Grotto.
When sex is used as a mechanic, it can be employed actively or passively. An active sex mechanic allows the players to directly control the action. The controversial mini-game revealed in the infamous Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas™ “Hot Coffee” mod allows players to control the avatar’s thrusting. By timing the avatar’s thrusts properly, the player can please the woman. Other games like Roboho or 3D Sex Villa allow the player to insert sex toys into virtual characters or, in the case of hardware-enabled virtual sex simulators, like those designed to work with the Interactive Fleshlight, allow a male player to insert his penis into a sleeve hooked up to a computer’s ISB port. The Interactive Fleshlight is designed by Sinulate Entertainment. By contrast, a passive sex mechanic puts the game in control of the actual sexual content. For instance, DreamStripper (Figure 1.1) lets the player choose the clothing and moves of his stripper, but he cannot actually control her body directly. Likewise, in The Sims™ 2, the player can do all kinds of things to bring two characters together, but ultimately, when they have “woo hoo,” if they have “woo hoo,” it is up to them.
FIGURE 1.1 Ensign Games’ DreamStripper.
© 2005 Ensign Games, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Sex as Reward
There are dozens of strip poker games available online, and it’s in these games that sex used as a reward is most obvious. In the first such game of its type, 1982’s Artworx Strip Poker, when a player wins a hand, his or her virtual opponent removes a piece of clothing, gradually revealing more and more. Whenever a game awards or makes sexual content available to the player as a result of his or her actions, sex is being used as a reward. The Guy Game™ used a similar tactic, but instead of cards, its mechanic is trivia questions. Players begin by selecting a sexy co-ed avatar. Then, players watch brief film clips of women being asked trivia questions. The player must guess the answers to these questions, and further, guess whether the women will answer them correctly. The better the player does, the more his in-game avatar reveals. The amount of nudity the player sees in the video clips within the game is also tied to his performance. The game initially pixelates topless nudity, allowing only top-performing players to see nonobscured video clips of the women. The Guy Game was eventually removed from the market when it was revealed that one of its participants was 17 when she agreed to participate. As a minor, she was legally in capable of giving her consent.
Sex as Aesthetic
Sex is an incredibly immersive experience that affects all the senses deeply. Games that hope to fully simulate this experience must affect as many senses as they possibly can to recreate a sexy aesthetic. Devices such as the Sinulator™, Interactive Fleshlight, and SeXBox allow players to feel sexual stimuli while playing a game. The Sinulator is a vibrator that can be controlled over the Internet, while the SeXBox is an Xbox controller whose vibration devices have been removed and inserted into sex toys. Both are covered later in this chapter. The Scent Dome™, a device that emits smells as directed by a program, could be used to convey the scent of a woman or a man. Visually, computers and consoles are easily capable of recreating the sights and sounds of sex, too. Video, live streaming images, and high-polygon renderings of virtual characters are all commonplace (www.renderotica.com) as are soundtracks, sound effects, and chat and voice between systems. While this technology currently exists, none compares to that of a real human being.
In some cases, that’s actually key. For those who desire sex with things that are impossible on this earth, computerized images and the artists who create them are a proverbial saving grace. In online worlds where anything goes, dragons can have sex with foxes, and people can pleasure themselves while on fire . . . or dead.
Of course, most of today’s games, particularly the mainstream ones, don’t go that far. Instead, they use sexual content to make the game more appealing to convey a somewhat sexy aesthetic. The aesthetic the developers wish to convey often reveals itself even before the game’s opening screen. Games with names like Roboho™, Rapture Online™, and Do You Like Horny Bunnies? suggest the game to come. The aesthetic can be carried out into the game’s interfaces, HUD (“heads up display,” the interface that overlays the main gameplay screen), options, mini games, animations, and even the loading screens. For instance, Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude™ features a conversation mini-game in which a sperm attempts to avoid obstacles in a side-scrolling maze of sorts. 7 Sins is also full of similar sexually themed mini-games. Playboy: The Mansion features Playboy trivia and quotes on its loading screens, and unlockable centerfold photos.
The way a game’s camera is used also reveals its aesthetic. Games occasionally zoom in on a particular character or show him or her from a sexually flattering angle that accentuates some feature of the character’s body, like the buxom bar maid in Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance. Some games even allow players to control the camera. Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball features a voyeuristic mode that lets players watch the women from multiple angles and zoom in for a closer look.
As an aesthetic, sexual content also appears as “window dressing,” whether it’s the breasts of a bartender, the relationship between in-game characters, or the set ting of the game. Phantasmagoria™ 2: A Puzzle of Flesh™, for instance, sets some of its scenes in a fictional S&M club called “The Borderline.” Playboy: The Mansion allowed players to recreate Hugh Hefner’s famous home right down to its steamy grotto.
The range of sex content found in video games is as wide as that found in any other medium. It ranges from the hard core to the fully abstracted. Even within individual categories, there is great variety. Early text-based games, particularly the early online worlds, featured hard-core scenes that could only be imagined by the player, while more recent games feature avatars with buxom, bouncing breasts that steal the scene. Some avatars appear to be on their way to a stripping engagement instead of a day in the dungeon.
What is the range of sex in games?
When asked to point out the sexual content in Zoo Tycoon™ 2, most people aren’t readily able to. “There’s no sex in that game,” said one. “In Zoo Tycoon? Are you sure you have the right game?” said another. However, breeding animals is very much a part of the game’s appeal. The sexual content in the game, though, is fully abstracted.
“In order to successfully breed animals, you need to care for them properly and care for their surroundings,” said Linda Currie, a designer on Zoo Tycoon 2 and now producer at its developer, Blue Fang Games. “Happy animals make baby animals. You need to meet their basic needs like hunger, thirst, and environment, and their more advanced needs including mental stimulation, social interaction, exercise, and privacy. You must also have a male and female animal in the same exhibit” [Currie01]. If all the conditions are met, the baby animal just shows up.
The Sims™ also abstracts the actual reproductive act. Like Zoo Tycoon 2, specific conditions must be met, but once met, a baby arrives. Grand Theft Auto 3 also featured abstracted sex. Although the game was much maligned for allowing players to have sex with a prostitute, the actual sexual content in the game was relatively tame. Players saw the car bounce up and down, nothing more.
Family Friendly Content
Sexual or “racy” content found in games for children, if it is found in a nonabstracted form at all, tends toward three things: clothing, comic mischief, and kissing or other gentle expressions of affection between game characters. Clothing on game characters can at times be revealing, although in games designed for a younger crowd, it is rarely more than tight-fitting outfits, the occasional bikini, or a bare-chested male character.
As the age of the game’s target audience rises from children to teenagers, the sexual content found in games increases. Revealing clothing and crude jokes are more commonplace, and romantic relationships between characters may develop. In The Sims™ 2, players can watch characters kiss and make out and even have “woo hoo,” although the latter is far more comical than titillating. From time to time, The Sims characters even remove their clothing to change clothes or to shower, for instance. When The Sims characters are nude, the game pixel blurs their bodies so the player cannot see anything vaguely sexual. Underneath the blur, however, The Sims characters aren’t revealing much. Anatomically, they are the video game version of Barbie® dolls.
There have been games released to a teen market that did feature partial nudity, however. Titles such as Breath of Fire™: Dragon Quarter™, Shadow Hearts®: Covenant™, and Atlantis Evolution all feature partial nudity, although the duration and context of the nudity is quite limited. Whenever partial nudity is found in a T-rated game title, it is always noted on the box cover in the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) content descriptors.
The Mature Audience
As games target an older, more mature audience, those 17 and above, the amount of sexual content increases still more. A character’s clothing may become far more revealing and suggestive. A character like BloodRayne™, from the game of the same name, is exceptionally attractive, and her clothing leaves little to the imagination, even when she’s mostly covered. Within games, animations sometimes become more suggestive and sexy, particularly “idle” animations in which female characters stand still waiting for another action or those that do not directly affect the primary game (e.g., noncombat animations in a combat-intensive game). The dance of the Night Elf in World of Warcraft® is among the animations regularly cited as particularly sexy among gamers. Dialogue may comment on a character’s attractiveness, and situational humor may become suggestive. The writers of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude, Ed Kuehnel and Matt Entin, mastered the art form within their game, which was ultimately nominated for a Game Developers Choice Award for its writing. For sexually themed games, mechanics may include soft-core sexual situations, including prolonged kissing, fondling, fetish realization, and actual, but obscured, intercourse. In such games, penetration is not seen, but rather implied. The characters may be animated, performing sex while still wearing underwear or while obscured by pixel blurs. God of War™, for instance, features a threesome between Kratos, the lead character, and two women. Rather than seeing any sexual action, however, the camera focuses on a bedside table and a vase wobbling thereon. Other games like 7 Sins, Playboy: The Mansion and the first iteration of the “Hot Coffee” mod shows characters having sex with their underwear on.
Hard-core sex in video games is uncensored, unashamed, and almost always un rated. Far beyond Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ “Hot Coffee” sex mini-game, hardcore games are characterized more by what’s left out rather than what’s put in. Often, a hard-core “game” is only a game in the most basic sense of the word—for instance, in Orgasm Girl and others like it, the player needs to get the character in the game to orgasm to “win.” Other times, the game is nothing more than an adult toy that lets the player use a variety of sex toys on a simulated man, woman, or fetish object. Such games as Soma Doll, VirtuallyJenna, and 3D Slut all fit this bill, and are often referred to as “poke the doll” games. Still other games simulate hard-core sex stories, particularly early 1980s games where it was only possible to tell, not show.
Some hard-core games do try to make a game of it, though. For instance, Sociolotron, an MMORPG, gives players a standard RPG world to play in and also allows players to explore their sexual desires. Players are free to express themselves through their clothing—or lack thereof—and their actions. Patric Lagny, developer of Sociolotron, designed the game with this freedom in mind. “We have put great effort into making it possible to break any taboo, as far as legally possible, and have some quite shocking and blasphemous game elements. I believe in free speech and intend to use the rights the USA takes great pride in pointing out all the time” [Lagny01]. Lagny notes that the game does have its necessary limits. While encouraging people to explore their sexuality, the game will not allow any kind of pedophilia and goes to great lengths to insure that this type of content is impossible to create or to role play in the game world. They even record a log of every action and word exchanged between players. Furthermore, notes Lagny, “We have excluded some things that are legally questionable, like sex with animals or ‘furry creatures,’ or the graphical description of extreme sexual torture. In fact, Sociolotron gets away with remarkably little violence and blood, except an occasional splatter on the ground. I’m quite glad to discover that there are still some people out there who find sex more attractive than gruesome violence” [Lagny02].
Japanese “hentai” and “bishoujo” games are also frequently hard core. Known more gently as “dating sims,” the more adult hentai and bishoujo games allow players to experience graphic anime sex. One company, Peach Princess, produces English-language localizations of these Japanese games. For instance, Doushin— Same Heart features the three characters known as the Suruga sisters. Whenever one of the girls gets sexually aroused, the other two sisters also feel the same way. Another game, Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber (Figure 1.2), allows the player to choose different fetish play paths, each from a different character’s perspective.
FIGURE 1.2 Peach Princess’ Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber.
© 2006 Peach Princess, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Why is sex found in video games? The same reasons sex is found in art, movies, television, or books. To stimulate players sexually is just one reason. Sexual content can be used to entertain, as it is in countless television relationship dramas. It can be used to teach, just as it is in sexual education or health classes in high schools everywhere.
For what purpose is sex used in video games?
Sex to Stimulate & Entertain
At the “Sexuality in Games: What’s Appropriate?” roundtable at the 2005 Game Developers Conference, one developer noted that he had no real problem with sexual content in games provided that it wasn’t “just sex for sex’s sake.”
“What’s wrong with sex for sex’s sake?” asked another developer. “Why else have sex?” she continued. “That’s the best use of sex.”
When developers choose racy clothing, busty or beefy characters, or suggestive themes, the use of sex for sex’s sake seems most obvious, but its intent in that use is questionable. Rather than stimulating, such sexual content is most often merely entertaining or pleasing in a passive way. Sometimes, the clothing or physical attributes of such characters are so over the top that they become comical. Are designers really hoping that the buxom avatar will turn a player on, are they dressing her to be pleasant to the eye or to meet the industry status quo?
There are games that feature sex for sex’s sake, however. Rapture Online, a sex positive massively multiplayer online erotic game (MMOEG), features a player-to player stimulation model. Games with this model enable live players to connect on line and explore their sexual fantasies and fetishes with each other. Such games are, in many ways, an evolution of Internet chat rooms. Other games feature a player to-computer stimulation model. Games like 3D SexVilla, Virtual Hottie, and VirtuallyJenna allow players to have a sexual experience with a virtual partner.
Whether with a real or a virtual partner, games that use sexual content to stimulate provide players the freedom to explore their sexuality in a safe and healthy way alone or with other consenting adults. When games truly seek to turn players on, however, they face unique design challenges unlike those faced by any other game. The unique challenges that AO games face in development and in reaching the market are covered in Chapters 12 and 10, respectively.
Sex for Education
For some, discussing the birds and the bees is a daunting ritual of parenthood. However, sexually themed serious games aim to take some of the stress out of the process. One such game is Iser Games’ The Sex Ed Game. It allows parents and teens to play a trivia game together, and encourages them to use the experience as a basis for more serious discussions about sexuality. Games can also teach the value of abstinence and safe sex. One of the early Leisure Suit Larry™ games, in fact, required Larry to use a condom or face severe consequences. Iser Games’ The Sex Ed Game also features a Christian version of the game that promotes abstinence. Of course, teens are not the only ones who need to learn about sexuality. As the success of the self-help market shows, there is a demand for information that can improve the sex lives of couples. Many games that were created for sexual education purposes are covered in Chapter 5.
Sex for Realism
Developers occasionally use sexual content to convey realism. If a role-playing game uses mythical sirens, for instance, one would expect them to be topless. Like wise, a Playboy game that featured a monogamous, sexually conservative Hugh Hefner would seem questionable. In social simulations like The Sims, mild sexual content occurs to accurately and realistically convey the relationship between two characters. If a game bills itself as an MMO erotic world, but doesn’t provide play ers the necessary actions and animations to complete those actions and fulfill their fantasies, players might question just how “real” the simulation is.
In the middle ages, women rarely went into battle. Those who did often disguised themselves as men, dressed in male armor or fought alongside men out of pure necessity. However, none wore platemail thongs. And, if they were wearing bras or what passed for medieval lingerie, it was more than likely covered in several pounds of leather, chain, or plate.
Not so in video games. Female heroines regularly venture into dungeons clad in the slightest of armor, far more interested in generating smiles from players than protection from monsters, and even games set in modern or futuristic settings frequently feature what author and designer Sheri Graner Ray refers to as “hypersex ualized” females [GRay01]. In her book Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, Graner Ray notes that hypersexualized avatars are characterized by their accentuated features, the same features seen in women when they are sexually aroused. Their eyes look dreamy. Cheeks are flush. Breasts are high, and the nipples are erect. Their lips are full and red [GRay02].
Sexy avatars started to appear in video games in the early 1980s as the graphic processing power of computers evolved beyond two color choices. One such sys tem, the Atari 2600, was home to a highly controversial game, Mystique’s Custer’s Revenge. The game featured a fully nude woman, although the nature of the system made the nudity quite abstract. However, the point was not lost on feminists and anti-gaming crusaders who lashed out at the game for this and other, far more controversial reasons. The woman was tied to a post, and as his reward for avoiding a hail of arrows, Custer raped her. This game and controversy are covered in more detail in Chapter 2.
By the mid-1980s, sexy avatars in video games had developed momentum, and an oogling in-game supporter. Sierra’s landmark game, Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards™, was released quietly and with little fanfare in 1987. Through word of mouth, however, the title eventually caught on. Larry Laffer, the main character in the humorous game, constantly pursued buxom beauties with mixed success. The initial release was profitable enough that its publisher released multiple sequels, however.
By the 1990s, sexy avatars were common. However, it wasn’t until 1996 that a sexy avatar took the gaming world by storm. Lara Croft™ was suddenly everywhere. A buxom, gun-toting girl, Lara was loved by male and female gamers alike. She appeared on the cover of countless magazines, spawned fan sites, and inspired a wave of sexy female leads that would appear in games in the years to come. In 2001, Para mount Pictures brought the franchise to the big screen. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie, was largely panned by critics, but was successful enough that it spawned a sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in 2003.
By 2004, digital beauties had become mainstream sex symbols in and of them selves and required no actor to play the part. The October 2004 issue of Playboy magazine featured its first ever video game photo shoot, choosing Luba Licious of Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude as its centerfold. The magazine also featured nude or seminude “photos” of Dixie from Playboy: The Mansion, Tala from Darkwatch: Curse of the West™, and BloodRayne from BloodRayne™ (Figure 1.3).
FIGURE 1.3 Majesco Entertainment’s BloodRayne.
© 2005 Majesco Entertainment, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
In 2005, G4TV hosted its first ever Video Game Vixens Awards, and handed the Vixen of the Year award to Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball’s Tina. Awards were also given for such categories as “Best Booty,” “Kinkiest Accessory,” and “Best Bounce” [G4TV01].
Sexy men also appear in video game worlds. Duke Nukem™ (Figure 1.4), a popular video game character and star of his own game series, is the classic, sexy action hero. His one-liners, his love of women, and his bravado proved a hit with gamers. More recently, Kratos from God of War has taken a top spot as one of the sexiest guys in a game.
FIGURE 1.4 3D Realm’s Duke Nukem.
© 2005 3D Realms, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Although Duke didn’t make the list, Gameinatrix.com, a Web site for female gamers, featured the following top 10 list of video game hunks on its Web site [Trix01]:
10. Jin Kazama—Tekken™
9. Carth—Star Wars® Knights of the Old Republic™
8. Jubei Yagyu—Onimusha™ 2
7. Master Chief—Halo®
6. Ryu Hayabusa—Ninja Gaiden
5. Yungsung—Soul Calibur II
4. Snake—Metal Gear Solid®
3. Sam Fischer—Splinter Cell™
2. Auron—Final Fantasy® X
1. Dante—Devil May Cry™
The use of such sexy characters in games is not without controversy, however. Critics point to the continued unrealistic portrayal and objectification of women as sex objects. Some female players in MMORPGs say their dress provokes sexual harassment from male players, particularly if the game does not allow for or pro vide less provocative choices. In her book, Graner Ray cautions developers about the consequences such hypersexualized content can have. In a nutshell, if you choose to design games and avatars that are hypersexualized and attractive to a particular gender, don’t be surprised if the opposite gender is turned off of your game for the exact same reasons [GRay03].
Not all players feel this way, however, and if the popularity and mimicking of super sexualized women like Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera is any indication, the market may not either. Some women like the option of choosing more racy clothing. “In many games, or at least the games I play, the character is a ‘hero’ of sorts, and is someone who I hope would be bigger and better than I am in my real, nonfantasy life,” says Linda Currie. Currie is both a veteran gamer and developer having been in the industry more than 20 years. “Given a choice, I’d rather play a female character that had some sex appeal vs. one that was homely or otherwise portrayed in a less than ideal fashion. Playing scantily clad women does n’t concern me much since I can accept that characters in games are often portrayed in a stereotypical and fantastical fashion. And this ‘over-the-top’, unrealistic portrayal is just as often applied to the male characters as the females.”
What would Currie choose if she could design her character from the ground up? “It’s probable I’d choose a little differently,” Currie notes. “I’d probably still choose to have her portrayed in an athletic and sexy fashion with attire that was somewhat less than realistic compared to what you might get on a real battlefield, but still more realistic than what you get in some games. Some of the chain mail bikinis that you see in games are really too ridiculous for words. That said, I would not put her in head-to-toe ‘realistic’ solid plate armor either. I don’t want an androgynous figure.”
Ultimately, Currie notes that it comes down to a person’s degree of tolerance. “Mine might be a little higher than many women because of my background and number of years in this industry,” says Currie. “Ultimately, there’s a balance between sexy and sexual and some games just don’t get it. But then again, if you watch 100 people wandering around your local shopping mall you’ll see some percentage of them who just don’t get it, either. Sometimes, as the saying goes, there’s just no accounting for taste” [Currie02].
At game industry shows, most notably the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), female models are often hired to staff the booths of software and hardware publishers. Models also roam the show floor or stand outside convention centers handing out flyers that describe their client’s wares and booth location to passersby. These models are frequently referred to as “booth babes.”
The video game industry is hardly unique in its use of models, of course. Convention Models & Talent Inc. of Atlanta lists Pepsi Corporation, Sysco, Proctor and Gamble, and Sara Lee among its clients, and attractive models are used on television and in magazines to market everything from eye drops to automobiles.
When E3 first began in 1995, spotting models was difficult. Although rumors circulated the show floor about who was using models and who wasn’t, it was difficult to tell. Models generally wore whatever the company’s staff wore, be it company tee shirts or other more formal attire. Attractive staff members were occasionally brushed off as spokesmodels who, it was assumed, knew nothing about the products they were presenting.
By 1999, however, “booth babes” were standard at game industry shows and spotting them was not difficult. Industry pundits had even started asking whether the show was about games anymore. Crave Entertainment’s booth featured women in bras with racing stripes, and over at the Midway booth, the model’s apparel was decidedly low cut. However, Gathering of Developers, a Dallas, Texas–based publisher, took the booth babe concept to a new level—and what many called a new low. Having positioned themselves as an anti-establishment, developer-driven publisher, Gathering of Developers rented a parking lot across from the Los Angeles Convention Center where E3 was taking place. Having a booth separate from the show asserted their independence. At the booth’s entrance, women dressed in schoolgirl uniforms carded people to make sure they were at least 21 years old. Inside, the booth was loud, even by E3 standards. Bands performed and competed with the sound of traffic from the street. Dwarves dressed up as members of the band Kiss strolled around the booth to promote the Kiss Psycho Circus: The Nightmare Child game that Gathering of Developers would be releasing later that year. The biggest surprise, the one that would be remembered for years to come, was what came to be known in the industry as “the lesbian sex show.” On the final day of E3 and in a parking lot across the street, two women were broadcast kissing one another intimately on the big screen behind the main stage where bands traditionally performed. In subsequent years, the infamous Gathering booth would continue to make waves, most notably hosting pole dancing strippers in 2001. Images of these dancers can be found at www.ritual.com/index.php?section=inside/showcavepics&id=79.
Although people within the game industry regularly talked about the use of booth babes and expressed their distaste for it, year after year, the booth babes continued to be a fixture at industry events. Booth babe photo roundups have become standard fare for press covering industry events, and one site, www.e3girls.com, covers the show’s models exclusively. The site has also released DVDs featuring the show’s models.
At E3 2005, having had its fill of booth babes and looking for a little publicity of its own, Agetec®, a game publisher and hardware manufacturer, launched an anti-booth babe campaign in an effort to remind people that E3 is about the latest games, not the latest looks. Wearing long blonde wigs, black logo tee shirts and high-waisted, form-covering women’s underwear over black lycra shorts, the male Agetec Anti-Babes (Figure 1.5) caused quite the stir and a fair number of smirks. Photos and further information on the anti-booth babes can be found at www.antiboothbabes.com.
FIGURE 1.5 Agetec’s Anti-Booth Babes
© 2005 Agetec®. Reprinted with permission.
By 2006, the tide had turned, however. E3 indicated that it would enforce its dress code policy and fine violators $5,000. Those inappropriately dressed would be asked to leave. The policy prohibited bikini tops and other revealing attire that had become common among booth babes and furthermore excluded games with adult sexual content from the show. For developers of sexual content, it was a watershed moment, perhaps the very one in which the mainstream game industry and adult games industries went their separate ways. For booth babes, their participation in the conference was largely unchanged. They were still there, just better (or more) dressed.
Some gaming sites have also ceased publication of booth babe “news.” For instance, Gamespot.com, a leading industry site, doesn’t offer special coverage of show models. Greg Kasavin, the executive editor of Gamespot.com, said it’s an editorial decision. “While we have significant resources available to us for coverage of E3, we nevertheless believe all those resources should be spent covering games and the show itself. We did offer our audience video booth tours and lots of other video content from the  show, allowing those who couldn’t attend E3 to take in all the different sights and sounds. So, we certainly didn’t go out of our way to not show any E3 booth babes in our coverage, especially since they’re a fairly common sight during the event. However, we gave them no special attention, because we’re much more interested in the subject matter of E3 rather than the people hired to work the show, and we think our audience feels the same way. I understand why these types of pictorials exist elsewhere—they probably generate more page views than an average preview—but we’re focused on game coverage” [Kasavin01].
Although criticism and celebration of booth babes has often focused on the female models and those who ogle them, male models also play a part, although that part is tiny in comparison. Previous E3s have seen an actor dressed up as Duke Nukem, various sports stars, Colby Donaldson from the Survivor television series, and even Vin Diesel. Chris Oltyan, a game developer and a member of the IGDA’s women in game development mailing list, coined a unique phrase to describe male booth babes. “I personally like the term ‘Booth Beef’,” said Oltyan. “I feel it properly objectifies men, whereas ‘brawn’ makes me think of paper towels” [Oltyan01].
Whether it’s a first-person shooter (FPS), an RPG, or a social simulation, sex sells— or at least game publishers hope it does. Advertisements in video game magazines frequently feature scantily clad and busty women and buff, bare-chested handsome men. In the March 2005 issue of Electronic Game Monthly®, a magazine pulled randomly from a shelf containing many video game magazines, the following sexy material in advertising was found:
Page 17—An advertisement for Sega’s Tenchu® Fatal Shadows™ contains a panel that shows a computer-generated buxom fighter with large breasts and lower armor that exposes the women’s hips.
Pages 20, 21, and 23—A three-page advertisement for Sony’s Champions: Return to Arms™ features a real woman wearing leather panties and a bra. She looks longingly upon the armor she has yet to put on—a platemail bra and panties with leather fringe. The third page of the advertisement features the same woman now dressed in the “armor.”
Page 27—An advertisement for Lucas Arts’ Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic® II: The Sith Lords™ features two women with exceptionally large breasts, lipstick, and rouge.
Page 33—An advertisement for Namco’s Tekken 5® shows a bare-chested, buff, attractive man.
Page 36—An advertisement for a company that provides Java games, wall papers, and ring tones features 27 images of scantily dressed or topless women. The topless models use their hands, another woman’s body, or their pose to obscure their nipples.
Page 51—An advertisement for Namco’s Death by Degrees™ features a woman in a tight, ripped leather body suit. Its largest rip exposes some of her left breast.
Pages 62–63—An advertisement for Capcom’s Devil May Cry® 3 features a bare-chested, buff, and attractive man.
Back Cover—An advertisement for Epic Games’ Unreal® Championship 2™: The Liandri Conflict shows a large-breasted woman wearing a platemail bikini. Her male counterpart is heavily armored from the neck down except for a portion of his right upper arm, which contains an ornament.
Sometimes the sexy models have no connection to the game they’re advertising. For instance, a two-page advertisement for Sony’s ATV Offroad Fury® 3 in the January 2005 issue of GMR magazine uses a model that has no connection to the game, any of its mechanics, or even its setting. On the left-hand page is a supposed advertisement for the cologne “Fuzion.” On that page, a beautiful model in lingerie kneels provocatively on a bed covered in crisp white linens in what appears to be a typical bedroom. The viewer’s eye is instantly drawn to her and secondly, to the spray of mud which has begun to cover her. She looks on, oblivious. Looking at the advertisement, the viewer is initially confused. When the advertisement was shown to several people, all were puzzled, and one even asked aloud, “What’s with the mud?” The answer is in the advertisement on the right-hand page. The ad for ATV Offroad Fury® 3 shows an ATV rider as he blasts through a mud pit, spraying it across the magazine fold and onto the beautiful model in the seemingly unrelated advertisement [GMR01].
The sexual content in the advertisement is successful. Unlike others in the issue, the viewer stops, questions, contemplates, and resolves. The viewer might get a kick out of it and show it to other people. It also illustrates how sex can sell. Had it not been for the model and the oddly placed mud, the page may have been flipped, and the advertisement unnoticed.
In addition to advertisements, sex sells on box covers. One of the earliest examples of sexual packaging was Sierra On-Line’s 1981 release of Softporn Adventure. The cover featured three nude women in a hot tub. Behind them, a waiter is poised to serve champagne. The packaging can be seen online at www.vintage-sierra.com/other/spv1.html. The package is also notable for its trivia value: the woman to the far right is noted game designer and co-founder of Sierra On-Line, Roberta Williams.
Sheri Graner Ray’s book, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, also discusses the use of sexy women on box covers. In one of the more extreme examples, she notes that the cover of Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness is embossed, allowing one to feel Lara Croft’s breasts [GRay04].
In marketing games, some go to extreme—if fitting—lengths. Publishers of the Playboy: The Mansion game, for instance, held two parties at Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles to commemorate both the announcement and the launch of the video game. Playboy Bunnies, celebrities, Playmates, and numerous painted ladies (naked women whose “clothing” is painted on) were present for both parties. The event paid off, and the game’s announcement and launch received substantial national and international press.
Sometimes, sexual content becomes a part of a game through emergence, accident, hack, or modification. Such content is either unintended, unexpected, or out of the control of the game’s developers and publishers.
Emergent content occurs when two or more things collide to produce content or behavior that was not scripted or otherwise programmed. These things that come together can be game systems, components, or players. When this content is sexual, it is known as emergent sex. Emergent sex can be either active, using the game’s systems to create sexual content, or passive, when a game turns a player on as it is, and that stimulation was not intended by the developers.
MMORPGs frequently have issues with active emergent sex. For instance, using existing systems it is quite possible to develop an active emergent sexual system where one player can pimp others out for cash and profit and even charge others to watch. How could this happen?
All of these games feature a series of animations that allow characters to per form various actions like crouch, lie prone, or kneel, among others. These animations are necessary and normal, particularly in combat. Furthermore, these games also provide systems where players can chat with one another. Lastly, these games provide players the ability to exchange cash. By using all three systems together, emergent sexual content is possible. In fact, such content is relatively common in online games and any online medium where people can talk with one another. In worlds from Ultima Online to World of Warcraft to Habbo Hotel to Second Life, emergent sex exists. Players trade gold or Lindens or linen cloth or furniture for cyber sexual favors, none of which were intended by the game designers. The (ESRB), the group that assigns ratings to video games in the United States, requires games with user-generated content to display a warning on the product and on the game’s Web site.
Other times, emergent sexual content is created in a game when a player finds a loophole at the convergence of two systems. In the original The Sims, a cheat allowed players to move objects. Likewise, a system removed a character’s clothing when he or she entered a shower. The “nude” character was obscured by a pixel blur while entering and exiting the shower, so the player never saw any nudity. However, if the player asks a character to enter a shower, pauses the game, uses the “move object” cheat and moves the shower, the player sees his or her character nude [Eggh01]. As has been noted, under their clothes The Sims characters have nothing to see.
Passive emergent sex arises when players find developer-generated content in a game sexually arousing, provided arousal was not the developer’s intent. For instance, if a player becomes aroused while playing DreamStripper (Figure 1.6) or while staring at a buxom barmaid, such behavior is expected and desired and not emergent.
If a player’s character is eaten by a dinosaur and this turns the player on, such behavior is considered passive emergent sex. The Web site Vorarephile.com, for in stance, lists over 300 games where something is eaten, be it the player’s character or entire planets [Vore01]. The site serves the vorarephilia community—a fetish where one becomes sexually aroused by being eaten. Since the fetish is a difficult one to enjoy in real life, games are uniquely positioned to provide fetish realization.
Passive emergent sex also occurs when players are turned on by characters in video games that are clearly not designed to be in any way sexually stimulating. Some sites that target the adult market feature images of famous video game characters such as Sonic, Mario, and others. Along with these undoctored images are many more, however, that feature the same characters engaging in hard-core sex. Emergent sex is covered in detail in Chapter 3.
FIGURE 1.6 Ensign Games’ DreamStripper.
© 2005 Ensign Games, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
When shipped game content is modified and the result of that modification creates sexual content, that content is considered modded sex. “Hot Coffee,” an example of modded sex, is arguably the most famous mod of all time. Discovered in June 2005 by Dutch gamer and hacker Patrick Wildenborg, the mod enables a character to have sex with his girlfriend in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The mod caused a worldwide controversy and is the focus of a case study in Chapter 4.
Nude skins are the most frequent type of modded sex, however. Nude skins are simply pieces of clothing painted to make the character appear nude. There are many examples of such mods. The Sims and The Sims 2, for instance, have an active adult mod community. Players can create and download nude skins, objects, and even animations that allow their characters to perform a large range of sexual acts. Nude skins can also be found for Lara Croft in Tomb Raider™, Mona from Max Payne™ 2, Cate from No One Lives Forever™, and even Britney Spears in Britney’s Dance Beat™. Links for these mods can be found on www.adultgamereviews.com.
Modded content is often confused with unlockable and “Easter egg” content. Mods are to some degree created by users after the game has shipped to market by altering the game’s code or content. The Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas “Hot Coffee” mod, while fully contained on the disc, was not accessible without external code or memory modification. Unlockable or “Easter egg” content and access to that content are created by developers before the game ships. Furthermore, access to unlockable and “Easter egg” content requires standard user action inside the game to reveal the content. Standard user actions include hitting a certain key or button combination or gathering enough bonus or experience points to unlock a particular feature or image. By contrast, modded content requires a user to actively alter the code base or art assets by some means outside of the game through a code, asset, or hardware-assisted alteration through devices such as the Action Replay™ Max. Such devices alter existing variables in the console’s memory.
The difference between unlockable content and “Easter egg” content lies in prior player knowledge. Unlockable content is defined as content that is generally known to the user when the game begins but is unavailable for use or for viewing. For instance, in the game Playboy: The Mansion, unlockable content included centerfold images and interviews. In fighting games, new moves are frequently locked when the game begins and unlocked as play progresses. Furthermore, unlockable content is sometimes required for gameplay to progress normally. By contrast, “Easter egg” content is unknown to players, is not required to complete the game, and occasionally tips the scales absurdly in the player’s favor. “Easter eggs” are often unlocked by pressing a secret series of buttons, completing a series of seemingly unrelated moves, or by finding a secret location containing the “Easter egg.” For instance, in the game Ratchet & Clank, players can find a location in the game that offers a ridiculous amount of bolts, the currency for the game. In an old version of Microsoft’s Excel, if the user highlighted a particular cell and pressed a series of keys, the program launched a 3D engine reminiscent of old 3D shooters.
Unlockable and “Easter egg” content is taken into consideration by the ESRB when rating a game. This alone accounts for the lack of sexual unlockables and “Easter eggs.” Modded content, since it is created by users after a game is released, is generally not taken into account. This changed in 2005, however, following the Hot Coffee controversy. The ESRB now takes into account all content on the disc, even if the content is not accessible off the shelf. If there is material on the disc that may be revealed through a mod, such as the nude skin in Oblivion, publishers must declare this content and it will factor into the game’s ratings. Complete user modifications, like the user-created nude skins for The Sims, are beyond the scope of the ESRB. By comparison, think of the huge array of things people could potentially paint on their cars. That creative streak, perverted as it may possibly be, is beyond the scope of GM or Ford.
Hacked sexual content arises when a product is modified by a member of the development team unbeknownst to its publisher and others. In 1996, programmer Jacques Servin modified the code of the Maxis game SimCopter™. The game fea tured numerous beautiful women, and Servin, who is gay, decided he wanted to see beautiful men in the game, too. So, he created a muscular character that appeared in a swimming suit. If another sim encountered the male character, the code made them kiss one another. The hack also created more characters on designated days like Servin’s birthday. Regrettably, Servin’s hack wasn’t quite bulletproof. The random number generator caused more of these characters to appear than he bargained for. The hack was ultimately discovered when the game had already sold 50,000 copies [Wired03]. Servin was fired the following day.
Almost a year after the attack, a group calling itself “®™ark” (artmark) was revealed as the act’s true mastermind [BPhon01]. The organization, which had remained underground until breaking its silence in 1997, offered rewards for specific public acts of corporate sabotage. Originally, Servin had claimed that he acted on his own to draw attention to the status quo of heterosexual characters in video games [Wired03]. He later admitted that he had been paid $5,000 for the act [Wired04].
When Ubisoft shipped Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® 3 to stores, they neglected one small piece of marketing—registering a domain name that was prominently featured on posters in a level in the game. The domain took players to a Web site filled with pornography links.
In an interview with CNN/Money’s Director of Content Development Chris Morris, Tony Ashcraft said he noticed the URL while playing the game and went to the link hoping to find additional game information, but instead he found it un registered. So, he purchased the domain and filled it with porn links. He hoped to build traffic, which porn is known to do, and ultimately sell the site [CNN01]. Ubisoft was unaware of the gaffe until Morris contacted them seeking comment, and told him they thought the incident was unfortunate. Although Ashcraft expressed willingness to sell the domain to Ubisoft, the company released a statement December 31, 2003, saying that they would not be subjected to “blackmail” or those trying to “extort” money from game developers for what it deemed was an honest mistake [CNN02].
Games have been made that allow the “player” to simulate sexual harassment, stalking, and rape. Such mechanics do not represent sex. Instead, they represent violence or the threat of violence and are therefore beyond the scope of this book.
[BPhon01] Barry, Ellen, “The Dilbert Front,” The Boston Phoenix, January 22, 1998. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[CNN01] Morris, Chris, “XXX . . . in a Tom Clancy Game?” CNNMoney, January 7, 2004. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[Currie01] Currie, Linda, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 29, 2005.
[Currie02] Currie, Linda, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 15, 2005.
[Eggh01] Henderson, Cory (contributor), “Sim Porn,” Egg Heaven 2000!. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[G4TV01] Video Game Vixens, G4TV. Available online. (2004). Ac cessed August 7, 2005.
[GGA01] jane, “Sex in Games=Rez+Vibrator,” Game+Girl=Advance, October 26, 2002. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[GMR01] GMR magazine, advertisement for ATV Offroad Fury 3, pp. 94–95, GMR, January 2005.
[GRay01] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 104, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.
[GRay02] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 105, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.
[GRay03] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 181, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.
[GRay04] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 33, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.
[Kasavin01] Kasavin, Greg, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 7, 2005.
[Lagny01] Lagny, Patric, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, June 24, 2005. [Lagny02] Lagny, Patric, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, June 24, 2005.
[Oltyan01] Oltyan, Chris, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, May 27, 2005.
[ Trix01] “Top 10 Video Game Hunks,” Gameinatrix.com forums, September 14, 2004, unavailable online.
[Webster01] Definition of “Sex,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. Available online. Accessed June 29, 2006.
[Wired01] Kohler, Chris, “Better than a Joystick,” Wired, November 5, 2003. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[Wired02] Kohler, Chris, “Better Than a Joystick,” Wired, November 5, 2003. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[Wired03] Silberman, Steve, “Boy ‘Bimbos’ Too Much for Game-Maker Maxis,” Wired, December 3, 1996. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
[Wired04] Frauenfelder, Matt, “Secret Prankster Fund Goes Public,” Wired, April 8, 1997. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.
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